As of the July 15th GHIN (Golf Handicap Index Number) update, Steph Curry is a +0.1 handicap. Even better, he counts two 68’s among his six most recent starts.
Thus, the Golden State Warriors’ point guard should be able to shoot something around par when he tees it up in the Web.com Tour’s Ellie Mae Classic, right? Absolutely not. Less probably than the Cavs 3-1 comeback in 2015, certainly.
The course rating at TPC Stonebrae from the tour tee is 74.8. This would mean, all things being equal, Curry should shoot 74.9, we’ll say 75, on the California track.
The problem is, tournament conditions, course setup, and hole locations add at least three strokes of difficulty to that number. The course rating will really be something like 78.8, which would mean Curry is likely to shoot 79 based just on the numbers.
And from a qualitative standpoint, playing in his first professional tournament alongside other professional golfers, you really think Steph will play his absolute best golf?
The bookies (at BookMaker.eu) have set the lowest score over/under at 76.5 and the highest at 79.5. And the implied probability of Curry missing the cut at the tournament is better than 96 percent.
Fortunately, we don’t have to merely speculate about what happens when athletes from other sports tee it up on the Web.com Tour. We have the examples of Jerry Rice and John Smoltz for reference.
John Smoltz, former MLB pitcher and +2 handicap, shot 84 to open the South Georgia Classic. He was even worse in the second round, needing 87 strokes to get the job done. He missed the cut by a staggering 27 strokes. This is a guy who has no problem breaking par any day of the week. This is a guy who has won a World Series, so he knows plenty about playing under pressure.
Jerry Rice, legendary NFL wide receiver and also a plus handicap shot 92 in the BMW Charity Pro-Am. He fired rounds of 81, 82 in an event prior to that. Between 2010 and 2012, Rice played four Web.com Tour events. He broke 80 just once.
So, the tally then, between these two star professional athletes with better golf handicaps than Curry, is one round under 80 in five appearances.
Facing more scrutiny and with more media attention than Rice or Smoltz ever got, Curry will attempt to play better golf than either of these two men, each of whom are better golfers. Think he will? If so, a sports book will be happy to take some of your money.